The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which Congress passed in 1990, is designed to provide people with disabilities equal access to employment, government services, public accommodations and businesses, and transportation services. Title III of the ADA requires businesses to proactively remove obstacles that prevent people with disabilities from accessing their establishments. However, businesses have resisted Title III for decades and have now pressured Congress to pass a law, the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017, to drastically limit Title III enforcement.
The ADA Education and Reform Act, H.R. 620, (which the House passed with a 225 to 192 vote) would eliminate all incentives for businesses to proactively ensure their businesses are accessible to people with disabilities. Instead, people with disabilities would have to notify businesses when their rights are violated, wait six months for the business to act to address issues, and only then bring the matter to court. The bill further exempts businesses from facing any penalties for noncompliance, as long as they can show "substantial progress" in fixing issues. Thus, people with disabilities could be forced to wait to access necessary services for months or even years while waiting for businesses to decide to comply with the ADA.
By shifting the responsibility of ADA compliance from businesses to people with disabilities, Congress is essentially destroying a key element of the ADA. People with disabilities already face substantial obstacles to full participation in public life even with Title III in place. It would be unacceptable to weaken this provision further.
Who To Call: Senators Kennedy and Cassidy
Senator Bill Cassidy: DC Office: 202-224-5824; Metairie office: 504-838-0130; Monroe: 318-324-2111; Lake Charles 337-493-5398; Alexandria: 318-448-7176
Senator John Kennedy: DC office: 202-224-4623; New Orleans: 504-581-6190; Lafayette: (337) 269-5980; Monroe: (318) 361-1489; Alexandria: (318) 445-2892; Baton Rouge: (225) 926-8033; Shreveport: (318) 670-5192.
Hello, my name is [Your Name] and I’m an active voter from New Orleans, ZIP code 70118 [or wherever you're from].
I'm calling to urge the senator to oppose HR 620, the ADA Education and Reform Act. It is unacceptable to make individuals with disabilities responsible for ensuring businesses comply with the ADA. This bill goes against the spirit of the ADA and will hinder full access to local businesses for people with disabilities.
Thank you for your time and attention.
[IF LEAVING A VOICEMAIL: please leave your full street address to ensure your call is tallied]
This call is adapted from 5calls.org.